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THE GREAT INVENTIONS FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF KNOWLEDGE
ABOUT THE UNIVERSE AND WHAT IT NEEDS TO DEVELOP
Fernando Alcoforado*
This article aims to present the great inventions that are contributing to the advancement
of knowledge about the Universe throughout history represented by the telescope, the
space rocket, the artificial satellite, the space capsule, the space station and the space
probe, among which rovers stand out and to point out the scientific and technological
advances that need to be developed to provide the conditions for humanity to colonize
celestial bodies in the solar system and beyond. The inventions that may occur in the
future will be fundamental to enable the increase of knowledge about the Universe in
order to contribute towards humanity being able to overcome the threats to its existence
represented by the collision on planet Earth of bodies coming from outer space (comets,
asteroids, planets of the solar system and orphan planets), by the emission of cosmic rays,
especially gamma rays with the explosion of supernova stars, by the continuous removal
of the Moon in relation to the Earth, by the death of the Sun, by the collision of the
Andromeda and Milky Way galaxies and by the end of the Universe.
To deal with asteroids and comets that could collide with planet Earth, the strategy is to
divert them from their course if they are detected with enough time to launch powerful
interceptor rockets [20][23]. To deal with the possibility of the collision of the planets of
the solar system with the Earth, it is important to identify habitable planets for humans
outside the solar system to plan their escape to exoplanets such as "Proxima b" orbiting a
star that is part of the Alpha Centauri system, the closest to the solar system, where space
colonies would be implanted [20][23]. In the case of the profound deterioration of the
terrestrial environment resulting from the continuous distancing of the Moon in relation
to the Earth and the concrete threat of the emission of gamma rays resulting from the
explosion of supernova stars, the necessary measures must be adopted aiming at the
escape of the human beings to possible places habitable in the solar system such as Mars,
Titan (Saturn's moon) and Callisto (Jupiter's moon) where space colonies would be
implanted [20][23]. All this requires great scientific and technological advances to make
them viable.
Before the death of the Sun, humanity should leave the solar system and reach a new
planet in another planetary system that is habitable for human beings. Among several
exoplanets (planets located outside the solar system orbiting other stars), the most viable
is the exoplanet "Proxima b" orbiting the closest star to the Sun, part of the Alpha Centauri
system, which is 4.2 light years from Earth [20] [23]. Before the collision between the
Andromeda and Milky Way galaxies, it is very important to draw plans for the escape of
human beings to a habitable planet in a galaxy closer to the Milky Way as the Canis Major
Dwarf Galaxy located 25,000 light years from Earth which is a satellite galaxy of the
Milky Way located in the constellation of Canis Major or the Large Magellanic Cloud
that is located 163,000 light years from Earth [20][23]. Researching the existence or not
of a multiverse or parallel universes is another important question to study because the
existence or not of a multiverse or parallel universes opens up the possibility that human
beings will survive the end of our Universe by heading to other parallel universes [20][
23]. All this requires great scientific and technological advances to make them viable.
1. The telescope
The telescope that Galileo Galilei, the father of modern science, invented was modeled
on the spyglass created in 1608 by Hans Lippershey from the lenses of the first eyeglasses
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that were considered common household items [1]. Galileo knew the details of
Lippershey's creation and, with similar tools (tubes and lenses), built a model three times
more powerful than the Dutchman's. This first model was being perfected by Galileo
between the years 1609 and 1610. Galileo built his first telescope, which he called
perspicillum, with a magnification of 3 times compared to the telescope of the Dutchman
Hans Lippershey. Galileo quickly improved it to a 20 times magnification, far more
powerful and sharper than anything else in existence at the time. With this instrument he
began the meticulous observations that marked the beginning of modern astronomy. The
most powerful telescopes built by Galileo reached a magnification of 30 times.
With the telescope, Galileo made the first observations on the relief of the Moon, the stars
of the Milky Way and the satellites of Jupiter [1]. By pointing his telescope at the Moon
in November 1609, Galileo showed that the surface of the Moon was not "polished,
regular, and of perfect sphericity", but "rough and irregular, full of vast prominences and
deep cavities", to the like the surface of the Earth itself. Galileo was then finishing his
observations of the Moon and turned his attention to Jupiter. By the end of 1609 Jupiter
was at opposition and the brightest object in the night sky after the Moon On the 7th and
8th January 1610, noticed near Jupiter three small bright points, which changed position
from one night to another. On the night of the thirteenth of the same month, he observed
that there were four bright points moving around Jupiter. Weeks of observations, he
concluded that the bodies that described smaller circles around Jupiter moved faster than
those that made larger circles like Mercury and Venus around the Sun. Jupiter's satellites
proved the existence of celestial bodies revolving around a planet other than Earth, in
contradiction with the geocentric system.
Galileo was the first to observe diffuse celestial bodies and then grouped under the
common name of nebulae [1]. He was astonished by the immense number of stars that
appeared to his telescope that could not be seen with the naked eye. He discovered that
the Milky Way, perceived until then as a “whitish nebulosity", was made up of an infinity
of stars. Galileo noticed that even through the telescope the stars continued to appear as
points of light, suggesting that they were at enormous distances from Earth. The first
results of Galileo's research using the telescope were published as early as 1610 under the
title "Sidereus Nuncius" ("The Message from the Stars"). In it, he reports in detail the
observations made between late 1609 and early 1610, which resulted in his discoveries
about the Moon's relief, the stellar composition of the Milky Way and Jupiter's satellites.
In the book, he refers to Jupiter's satellites as "four hitherto unseen planets". In 1613,
Galileo published the “Letter on sunspots”, when he made explicit the first considerations
in favor of Copernicus' heliocentric theory. An important point to be noted is that, with
the use of the telescope by Galileo, science also began to exist closely connected with
“technology”, that is, with the human being's ability to expand his senses through
inventions, instruments and, with them, to know and describe the Universe.
Many models of telescopes were developed from Galileo's telescope so that we have a
model of observation of long ranges like the one offered to us by the Hubble telescope
and the James Webb telescope. Since then, a veritable scientific and cosmological
“revolution” has begun to develop. The Hubble telescope, launched in April 1990, was
responsible for capturing extremely important images for studies related to the Universe
[2]. Designed in the 1970s and 1980s, the Hubble Space Telescope was launched in 1990
and provided a revolution in astronomy. The images captured through the lens of this
telescope revealed a Universe much bigger and more beautiful than the human being had
imagined. The Hubble telescope obtained detailed images of nebulae, which made it
possible to understand the formation and death of stars, generated images of more than
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1500 galaxies, showing an immense Universe, never seen before, presented a real-time
view of the collision of a comet with the planet Jupiter, located carbon dioxide (CO2) on
the surface of a planet, identified planets outside the Solar System, showed images of the
collision between galaxies and detected black holes.
The images from the James Webb Telescope are even more revolutionary [3]. The James
Webb Telescope is not a replacement for the Hubble Telescope. In fact, it is
complementary in that it has eyes that Hubble does not. Therefore, he will see things that
today are "invisible" with the use of the Hubble telescope. The first image revealed by
the James Webb Telescope shows the distant Universe. The primary mission of the James
Webb Telescope is to examine the infrared radiation resulting from the Big Bang and to
make observations about the infancy of the Universe [4]. Observations of very distant
objects are the telescope's main objectives, its most challenging purpose. This is what
Hubble cannot do due to size limitations and lack of infrared equipment unlike the James
Webb Telescope. As the Universe is expanding, it is only possible to observe the first 100
million years after the Big Bang in the infrared, because the light undergoes a shift
towards the red side of energy. The light from the most distant galaxy in that image came
out when the Universe was just 600 million years old. With the James Webb Telescope,
we even see its chemical composition. Then we found that, chemically, it is similar to the
nearest galaxies that we know. We will learn how our own galaxy formed and how the
chemical enrichment of the Universe happened to generate our Solar System and life. It
was also impressive to learn that the James Webb Telescope can easily detect water on
planets around other stars and starlight passing through a planet's atmosphere [5].
2. The space rocket
A space rocket is a machine that moves by expelling a stream of gas at high speed behind
it. Its purpose is to send objects (especially artificial satellites, space stations, space probes
and rovers) and/or spacecraft and men into outer space using space capsules with a speed
greater than 40,320 km/h to overcome the gravitational attraction force from the Earth
and reach an altitude greater than 100 km above sea level [7]. A rocket consists of a
structure, a jet propulsion engine and a payload. The structure serves to house the fuel
and oxidizer (oxidizing) tanks and the payload. These rockets also need to carry an
oxidizer to react with the fuel. This mixture of superheated gases is then expanded into a
diverging tube, the Laval Tube, also known as the Bell Tube, to direct the expanding gas
backwards and thus propel the rocket forward [7].
The first news that we have of the use of the rocket is from the year 1232 in China, where
gunpowder was invented, used at first in fireworks as entertainment and, later, used for
war purposes. Rockets were introduced to Europe by the Arabs, returning to use in
European conflicts shortly after the Hundred Years' War (1337-1453). During the 15th
and 16th centuries, it was used as an incendiary weapon. Later, with the improvement of
artillery, the war rocket disappeared until the 19th century, being used again during the
Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815). At the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th
century, the first scientists appeared who saw the rocket as a system to propel manned
aerospace vehicles. Among them stood out the Russian Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, the
German Hermann Oberth, the North American Robert Goddard and, later, the Russians
Sergei Karolev and Valentim Glushko and the German Wernher von Braun [6].
Goddard built the first rocket powered by liquid fuel in 1925. The rockets built by
Goddard, although small, already had all the principles of modern rockets, such as
guidance by gyroscopes, for example. The Germans, led by Wernher von Braun,
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developed, during World War II, the V-1 and V-2 rockets that served as the basis for
research on rockets by the United States and the Soviet Union in the post-war period.
Both of the Nazi rockets used to bomb London at the end of the war can best be defined
as missiles because the V-1 and V-2 fly with jet aircraft propulsion. The space programs
that the North Americans and the Russians set in motion were based on rockets designed
with their own purposes for astronautics derived from rockets for military use [6]. The
rockets used in the Soviet space program were derivatives of the R.7 ballistic missile,
which, in October 1957, the Soviet Union used to launch the first spacecraft, the Sputnik
satellite.
Adoption of reusable space vehicles, such as NASA's Space Shuttle, is set to increase.
The Space Shuttles take off like a conventional rocket, but land like airplanes. The
Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) is a spacecraft equipped with rockets that would take
off and land like airplanes, on long landing strips, which would be equipped with reusable
rockets to reach space and orbit the Earth. These aircraft do not yet exist. However, it is
thought that, in the future, RLVs will be aircraft that can be used for low-cost and high-
security space travel. A revolutionary engine that could advance astronautical technology
is the Scramjet engine that is capable of hypersonic speeds of up to 15 times the speed of
sound. NASA successfully tested such an engine in 2004. Another possibility of
advancement in rocket engine technology is the use of nuclear propulsion, in which a
nuclear reactor heats a gas, producing a jet that is used to produce thrust [8].
3. The artificial satellite
An artificial satellite is a device, composed essentially of electronic and mechanical
systems, that orbits around a planet [9]. Artificial Satellites are equipment created by man
launched into space by means of rockets without a crew that orbit the planets, other
satellites or the Sun, being used for the deepening of studies about the solar system. The
artificial satellite is divided into two main parts: the service module and the payload
module. In the service module are the subsystems responsible for the operation of the
satellite: battery, on-board computers, among others. The subsystems related to the
satellite mission (cameras, experiments, among others) are attached to the payload
module. The first artificial Earth satellite, Sputnik I, was launched by the Soviet Union
on October 4, 1957, and on November 3, 1957, Sputnik II was launched. Since that date,
many other satellites have been launched with the most diverse purposes:
communications, meteorology, television, scientific research, military applications,
navigation, exploration of the Universe and Earth observation [10].
4. The space capsule
A space capsule, launched into space by means of rockets, is normally the main section
of a manned spacecraft that has a simple shape, without "wings" or other appendages to
create lift during re-entry into the atmosphere [21]. Space capsules have been used in all
manned space programs from the first manned missions to the present day, including
several "generations" of them that have evolved over the years [22]. The Chinese
Corporation for Aerospace Science and Technology is showing the public for the first
time its new space capsule, which will be used in future manned missions from the
country [23]. Reusable, and as yet unnamed, the vehicle can carry up to seven astronauts
to the Tiangong Space Station. The Shenzhou capsules, used in all Chinese manned
missions to date and derived from the Russian Soyuz, carry just three astronauts. On May
5, 2020, the new capsule was launched into space, without a crew, aboard a Long March
5B rocket. The experimental spacecraft was in orbit for two days and 19 hours, during
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which it carried out a series of scientific and technological experiments, according to the
Chinese Space Agency for Manned Missions (CMSA, China Manned Space Agency).
Significant advances have been made in thermal protection and precision control for
return and re-entry, as well as in engine design and damage-free landing.
5. The International Space Station
The International Space Station (ISS), launched into space by means of rockets, is a
completely completed space laboratory, whose in-orbit assembly began in 1998 and
officially ended on July 8, 2011. The space station is in Earth orbit at an altitude of
approximately 400 kilometers, an orbit typically referred to as low Earth orbit. Due to the
low altitude, the station needs to be constantly repositioned in orbit due to aerodynamic
drag. The space station travels at an average speed of 27,700 km/h, completing 15.70
orbits per day. In continuity with the operations of the Russian Mir and the US Skylab,
the International Space Station represents the current human stay in space and has been
maintained with crews of no less than three astronauts since November 2, 2000. The ISS
becomes involved in several space programs, being a joint project of the Canadian Space
Agency (CSA/ASC), European Space Agency (ESA), Japanese Aerospace Exploration
Agency (宇宙航空研究 or JAXA), Russian Federal Space Agency (ROSKOSMOS) and
National Space Administration Aeronautics and Space (NASA) of the United States. On
June 27, 2008, it completed 55,000 orbits since the launch of the Zarya module, the first
to be launched into space.
The ISS has a platform to carry out scientific research. The wide variety of research fields
include astrobiology, astronomy, human research including space medicine and life
sciences, physical sciences, materials science, space weather and Earth weather
(meteorology). Space stations offer an environment where studies can potentially be
carried out for decades, combined with easy access by human researchers for periods that
exceed the capabilities of manned spacecraft. The ISS simplifies individual experiments,
eliminating the need for separate rocket launches and research teams. To detect dark
matter and answer other fundamental questions about our Universe, engineers and
scientists around the world created the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), which
NASA compares to the Hubble Space Telescope and says could not be accommodated on
a satellite free flying in part because of its power requirements and data bandwidth needs.
On April 3, 2013, NASA scientists reported that evidence of dark matter may have been
detected by the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer. Medical research improves knowledge
about the effects of long-term space exposure on the human body, such as muscle atrophy,
bone loss and fluid shift. These data will be used to determine whether human spaceflight
and space colonization are viable processes. In 2006, data on bone loss and muscle
atrophy suggested that there would be a significant risk of fractures and movement
problems if astronauts landed on a planet after a long interplanetary cruise, such as the
six-month gap needed to travel to Mars.
The ISS's source of electrical energy is the Sun through solar panels. The ISS's
Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) provides or controls elements
such as atmospheric pressure, oxygen level, water, fire extinguishing, and more. The
Elektron system generates the oxygen that circulates on board the station. The highest
priority for the life support system is maintaining a stable atmosphere within the Station,
but the system also collects, processes and stores waste and water produced and used by
the crew. For example, the system recycles toilet, shower, urine and condensation fluids.
Activated carbon filters are the first methods for removing products of human metabolism
in the air. Station orientation control is maintained through two mechanisms. Typically,
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a system using control moment gyroscopes (CMGs) keeps the Station oriented. When the
gyroscope system becomes saturated, it can lose the ability to control the station's
orientation. In this case, the orientation control system is prepared to take over
automatically, using retrorockets to maintain the Station's orientation and thus allowing
the desaturation of the gyroscope system.
The altitude control of the International Space Station is carried out with its maintenance
in orbit at a minimum and maximum altitude limit of 278 to 460 km. Radio
communication is essential to the operation of the ISS, providing telemetry and scientific
data between the space station and Mission Control Centers around the world. Radio links
are also used during spacecraft approach and docking procedures and for communication
between station crew, and between them and flight controllers and family members on
the ground. As a result, the ISS is equipped with a diverse range of internal and external
communication systems, used for different purposes.
6. The space probe
A space probe, launched into space by means of rockets, is an unmanned craft that is sent
into space to collect information about planets, moons, asteroids, comets and other objects
in the Solar System and beyond [11] [12] . Some probes orbit planets and moons, others
even land on them, but there are also those that just pass close to these celestial bodies to
study them. Space probes usually have telemetry resources, which allow studying the
celestial body's distance, its physical and chemical characteristics, taking photographs
and sometimes also characterizing its environment. Some probes, such as Landers or
Rovers, land on the surface of celestial bodies to study their geology and climate. The
first space probes to study other celestial bodies were launched at the end of the 1950s by
the extinct Soviet Union and the United States, right at the beginning of space exploration,
and they helped a lot to unravel the mysteries of the Universe. Recently, the European
Space Agency, Japan, People's Republic of China and India have also launched their
probes. The probe types are flyby, orbiter, impact, lander and vehicular (using the rover
with locomotion capability to analyze a larger area of a celestial body).
To date, 9 space probes have been sent to the Sun, 2 to Mercury, 34 to Venus, 35 to Earth,
83 to the Moon, 40 to Mars, 8 to Jupiter, 3 to Saturn, 1 to Uranus, 1 to Neptune, 1 for
Pluto and the Kuiper Belt, 12 for comets and asteroids, and 4 for outside the Solar System
[11]. Among the main fuels used in a space probe are liquid hydrogen, liquid oxygen,
hydrazine and others. Hydrazine, like other substances, is highly toxic and its handling
requires the use of protective clothing and oxygen tanks, which makes the supply process
time-consuming and dangerous. The space probes are capable of communicating with
Earth through the Deep Space Network (DSN), a global NASA communications system
that covers the entire circumference of the Earth, divided into three stations, one in
California, another in Madrid and one in third in Canberra, Australia.
7. The rover
Rover designates a space exploration vehicle designed to move on the surface of a planet
or other celestial body [13]. Some of them were designed to transport crew members of a
manned space mission and others are partially or completely built as autonomous robots.
The vehicles are designed with all-terrain vehicle characteristics, and are driven to their
destination via lander-type spacecraft. They are used in conditions very different from
those found on Earth, which implies some special design features, such as wheels with
independent movement and traction, as well as robotic arms and instruments. The
following requirements are a fundamental part of vehicle design: readiness, compactness
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and autonomy. 5 rovers were used on the Moon and 7 on Mars with 3 failures, 1 on the
Moon and 2 on Mars.
Among the rovers, it is important to highlight three of them, Spirit, Opportunity and
Perseverance used in research on the planet Mars, which has already been explored for
60 years and is of great scientific interest because it is believed that the Red Planet may
have signs of life, even if already extinct [16]. Although we have seen these three rovers
arrive at Mars, there are many other scientific instruments besides these on the Red Planet,
either in orbit or on the surface. The Spirit and Opportunity rovers are part of a space
mission to explore the surface and geology of the planet Mars, which is still ongoing [14].
Equipped with an engine and wheels, the rovers were designed to roam the surface of
Mars and search and classify the greatest possible number of rocks and soils that could
give any clue about the possible existence of water on the planet. Opportunity "landed"
in the Martian crater after Spirit, which landed on the far side of the planet. The rovers
did not actually "land", but fell out of space, the impact being absorbed by large pockets
of gas. In all, the rovers covered more than 21 kilometers and collected more than 250,000
images and 36,000 gigabytes of data. On Martian soil, they climbed hills and descended
into craters, struggled to free themselves from sand, and faced problems caused by the
wear and tear of the materials they are made of.
The rovers were equipped with extremely sensitive equipment, which allows the
recording of small earthquakes. Its technology makes it possible to obtain information
about the core of the planet, whether it is active or whether it has already been transformed
into a large frozen stone ball, as in the case of the Moon. Its mechanical arms even have
a rock polisher, and are designed to analyze the chemical elements in the soil. In addition
to all this, Spirit and Opportunity have optical instruments, which make it possible to
analyze the composition of the atmosphere. Thus, it is possible to understand, for
example, why the temperature of Mars is so unstable, because, on a common day,
thermometers vary up to 90 degrees. On May 1, 2009, Spirit became stuck on a plateau,
with two of its six wheels destroyed. NASA operators tried for nine months to send
commands that would make it get rid of the obstacle, but they gave up, and started using
it as a stationary platform. There, Spirit ended up finding silica, a chemical compound
that preserves energy-rich bacterial communities. Its final transmission took place on
March 22, 2010. Opportunity continues its walk around the other end of Mars to this day.
In almost eight years of exploration, the robots have found evidence that the regions
where they walked were once habitable, at least by microorganisms.
The Perseverance rover successfully landed on Mars in February 2021 with the main
objective of determining the potential for ancient life on Mars. To do this, the rover will
look for signs of habitable conditions on the ancient Red Planet, in addition to looking
for biosignatures of microbial life that may have existed when there was water there. The
rover landed in a large crater formation called Jezero, which features typical features of a
lake and river delta that existed on Mars billions of years ago. Scientists have reason to
think that if there was ever life on the planet, this is one of the places where it could have
been abundant. To look for these signs, Perseverance will use a drill capable of sampling
the most promising rocks and soils. In addition to the rover, Mars 2020 took the Ingenuity
helicopter to Mars, as an unprecedented demonstration of autonomous flight technology
on another planet [15].
8. Conclusions
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The first major revolution in the history of Science occurred with the breaking of the
geocentric paradigm whose theory elaborated by the Greek astronomer Claudio Ptolemy
at the beginning of the Christian Era defended the thesis that the Earth is in the center of
the Solar System, and the other stars orbit around it , including the Sun [19]. After 14
centuries, the geocentric theory was contested by the Polish astronomer and
mathematician Nicolaus Copernicus, who elaborated another structure of the Solar
System, the heliocentrism. According to Copernicus, the Earth and the other planets move
around a point close to the Sun, which is the true center of the Solar System. The
heliocentric theory was improved and proven by Galileo Galilei with the invention of the
telescope [17]. From the studies of Copernicus and Galileo Galilei, the Universe has
become increasingly known thanks to the use of increasingly powerful telescopes such as
Hubble and James Webb, space rockets, artificial satellites, space capsules, space stations,
space probes and rovers. All of this has contributed to Astronomy, which is the science
that studies the Universe, the bodies that constitute it, the relative positions they occupy,
the laws that govern their movements and the evolution they experience over time, to
promote the advancement of knowledge about the Universe [18].
The construction of large telescopes such as Hubble and James Webb have provided
incredible advances and discoveries about the Universe. The replacement of the human
eye by photographs and the objectives of systematization and classification made
Astronomy evolve even more in these last fifty years than in the five millennia of its entire
history. As a result of technological development since the second half of the 20th
century, Astronomy has undergone such a great change in its methods that it leaves its
aspect of observation science to also become a new experimental science with the use of
the telescope, space rockets, artificial satellites, space capsules, space station, space
probes and rovers. The advancement of knowledge in Astronomy made it possible to
establish conjectures about the origin of the Universe that would have emerged through
the Big Bang, to identify the existence of a huge black hole in the center of the Milky
Way, the discovery of water on Mars, the downgrading of Pluto to a dwarf planet , the
existence of Earth-like exoplanets outside the solar system, as well as the discovery of
dark matter and dark energy in the Universe.
For humans to carry out long-distance space missions, it is necessary to find more
advanced forms of rocket propulsion to reach distances of hundreds or thousands of light-
years, given that, according to scientists, current chemical rockets are limited by the
maximum speed exhaust gases [20][23]. Other alternatives proposed by scientists would
consist of the use of a solar/ionic engine as a new form of rocket propulsion, as well as
the creation of a fusion reactor in which a rocket extracts hydrogen from interstellar space
and liquefies it, releasing unlimited amounts of energy [20][23]. It is also necessary to
develop space capsules capable of protecting human beings in space travel and to design
space probes to carry out research in possible habitable places in the solar system such as
Mars, Titan (Saturn's moon) and Callisto (Jupiter's moon) or on the exoplanet Proxima b
located in the Alpha Centauri system and a planet in a closer galaxy such as the Canis
Major Dwarf Galaxy located 25,000 light years from Earth [20][23], as well to develop
space colonies for use by humans outside Earth. All this could help human beings to
colonize celestial bodies located in the solar system and beyond. Additionally, it is
necessary that space probes be sent to know the “Oort Cloud” located at the limits of the
solar system where comets are located and to know the “Kuiper Belt” where asteroids are
located [20][23].
From the above, it is demonstrated that the great inventions that occurred throughout
history in the field of astronomy contributed to the advancement of knowledge about the
9
Universe and that future inventions need to be developed to provide the conditions for
humanity to colonize celestial bodies in the solar system and outside of it, as well as
making it possible to increase knowledge about the Universe to contribute towards
humanity being able to overcome the threats to its existence.
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<https://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonda_espacial>.
12. ESG, O que é uma sonda espacial e para que serve? Available on the website
<https://planetariodevitoria.org/espaco/o-que-e-uma-sonda-espacial.html>.
13. WIKIPEDIA. Astromóvel. Available on the website
<https://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astrom%C3%B3vel>.
14. SANTIAGO, Emerson. Robôs Spirit e Opportunity. Available on the website
<https://www.infoescola.com/exploracao-espacial/robos-spirit-e-opportunity/>.
15. EXAME. Perseverance completa um ano de busca por sinais de vida em Marte.
Available on the website <https://exame.com/ciencia/perseverance-completa-um-
ano-de-busca-por-sinais-de-vida-em-marte/>.
16. CAVALCANTE, Daniele. Exploração de Marte: que sondas, rovers e landers já
foram enviados para lá? Available on the website
10
<https://canaltech.com.br/espaco/exploracao-de-marte-que-sondas-rovers-e-landers-
ja-foram-enviados-para-la-180134/>.
17. CROWE, Michael J. Theories of the World from Antiquity to the Copernican
Revolution. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, Inc, 1990.
18. AGUIAR, Marcus. Tópicos de Mecânica Clássica. Campinas: UNICAMP, 2010.
Available on the website <http://sites.ifi.unicamp.br/aguiar/files/2014/10/top-mec-
clas.pdf>.
19. ALCOFORADO, Fernando. A ciência e os avanços no conhecimento sobre o
Universo. Available on the website <https://www.slideshare.net/falcoforado/a-cincia-
e-os-avanos-no-conhecimento-sobre-o-universo>.
20. ALCOFORADO, Fernando. A escalada da ciência e da tecnologia ao longo da
história e sua contribuição ao progresso e à sobrevivência da humanidade. Curitiba:
Editora CRV, 2022.
21. WIKIPEDIA. Cápsula espacial. Available on the website
<https://pt.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/C%C3%A1psula_espacial>.
22. RIGUES, Rafael. China expõe sua nova cápsula espacial. Available on the website
<https://olhardigital.com.br/2021/10/14/ciencia-e-espaco/china-expoe-sua-nova-
capsula-espacial/>.
23. ALCOFORADO, Fernando. How to protect human beings from threats to their
existence and avoid the extinction of humanity. Europe, Republic of Moldova,
Chișinău: Generis Publishing, 2023.
* Fernando Alcoforado, awarded the medal of Engineering Merit of the CONFEA / CREA System, member
of the Bahia Academy of Education, of the SBPC- Brazilian Society for the Progress of Science and of
IPB- Polytechnic Institute of Bahia, engineer and doctor in Territorial Planning and Regional Development
from the University of Barcelona, college professor (Engineering, Economy and Administration) and
consultant in the areas of strategic planning, business planning, regional planning, urban planning and
energy systems, was Advisor to the Vice President of Engineering and Technology at LIGHT S.A. Electric
power distribution company from Rio de Janeiro, Strategic Planning Coordinator of CEPED- Bahia
Research and Development Center, Undersecretary of Energy of the State of Bahia, Secretary of Planning
of Salvador, is the author of the books Globalização (Editora Nobel, São Paulo, 1997), De Collor a FHC-
O Brasil e a Nova (Des)ordem Mundial (Editora Nobel, São Paulo, 1998), Um Projeto para o Brasil
(Editora Nobel, São Paulo, 2000), Os condicionantes do desenvolvimento do Estado da Bahia (Tese de
doutorado. Universidade de Barcelona,http://www.tesisenred.net/handle/10803/1944, 2003), Globalização
e Desenvolvimento (Editora Nobel, São Paulo, 2006), Bahia- Desenvolvimento do Século XVI ao Século
XX e Objetivos Estratégicos na Era Contemporânea (EGBA, Salvador, 2008), The Necessary Conditions
of the Economic and Social Development- The Case of the State of Bahia (VDM Verlag Dr. Müller
Aktiengesellschaft & Co. KG, Saarbrücken, Germany, 2010), Aquecimento Global e Catástrofe Planetária
(Viena- Editora e Gráfica, Santa Cruz do Rio Pardo, São Paulo, 2010), Amazônia Sustentável- Para o
progresso do Brasil e combate ao aquecimento global (Viena- Editora e Gráfica, Santa Cruz do Rio Pardo,
São Paulo, 2011), Os Fatores Condicionantes do Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social (Editora CRV,
Curitiba, 2012), Energia no Mundo e no Brasil- Energia e Mudança Climática Catastrófica no Século XXI
(Editora CRV, Curitiba, 2015), As Grandes Revoluções Científicas, Econômicas e Sociais que Mudaram o
Mundo (Editora CRV, Curitiba, 2016), A Invenção de um novo Brasil (Editora CRV, Curitiba,
2017), Esquerda x Direita e a sua convergência (Associação Baiana de Imprensa, Salvador, 2018), Como
inventar o futuro para mudar o mundo (Editora CRV, Curitiba, 2019), A humanidade ameaçada e as
estratégias para sua sobrevivência (Editora Dialética, São Paulo, 2021), A escalada da ciência e da
tecnologia e sua contribuição ao progresso e à sobrevivência da humanidade (Editora CRV, Curitiba,
2022), a chapter in the book Flood Handbook (CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida United States, 2022) and
How to protect human beings from threats to their existence and avoid the extinction of humanity (Generis
Publishing, Europe, Republic of Moldova, Chișinău, 2023).

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THE GREAT INVENTIONS FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF KNOWLEDGE ABOUT THE UNIVERSE AND WHAT IT NEEDS TO DEVELOP.pdf

  • 1. 1 THE GREAT INVENTIONS FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF KNOWLEDGE ABOUT THE UNIVERSE AND WHAT IT NEEDS TO DEVELOP Fernando Alcoforado* This article aims to present the great inventions that are contributing to the advancement of knowledge about the Universe throughout history represented by the telescope, the space rocket, the artificial satellite, the space capsule, the space station and the space probe, among which rovers stand out and to point out the scientific and technological advances that need to be developed to provide the conditions for humanity to colonize celestial bodies in the solar system and beyond. The inventions that may occur in the future will be fundamental to enable the increase of knowledge about the Universe in order to contribute towards humanity being able to overcome the threats to its existence represented by the collision on planet Earth of bodies coming from outer space (comets, asteroids, planets of the solar system and orphan planets), by the emission of cosmic rays, especially gamma rays with the explosion of supernova stars, by the continuous removal of the Moon in relation to the Earth, by the death of the Sun, by the collision of the Andromeda and Milky Way galaxies and by the end of the Universe. To deal with asteroids and comets that could collide with planet Earth, the strategy is to divert them from their course if they are detected with enough time to launch powerful interceptor rockets [20][23]. To deal with the possibility of the collision of the planets of the solar system with the Earth, it is important to identify habitable planets for humans outside the solar system to plan their escape to exoplanets such as "Proxima b" orbiting a star that is part of the Alpha Centauri system, the closest to the solar system, where space colonies would be implanted [20][23]. In the case of the profound deterioration of the terrestrial environment resulting from the continuous distancing of the Moon in relation to the Earth and the concrete threat of the emission of gamma rays resulting from the explosion of supernova stars, the necessary measures must be adopted aiming at the escape of the human beings to possible places habitable in the solar system such as Mars, Titan (Saturn's moon) and Callisto (Jupiter's moon) where space colonies would be implanted [20][23]. All this requires great scientific and technological advances to make them viable. Before the death of the Sun, humanity should leave the solar system and reach a new planet in another planetary system that is habitable for human beings. Among several exoplanets (planets located outside the solar system orbiting other stars), the most viable is the exoplanet "Proxima b" orbiting the closest star to the Sun, part of the Alpha Centauri system, which is 4.2 light years from Earth [20] [23]. Before the collision between the Andromeda and Milky Way galaxies, it is very important to draw plans for the escape of human beings to a habitable planet in a galaxy closer to the Milky Way as the Canis Major Dwarf Galaxy located 25,000 light years from Earth which is a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way located in the constellation of Canis Major or the Large Magellanic Cloud that is located 163,000 light years from Earth [20][23]. Researching the existence or not of a multiverse or parallel universes is another important question to study because the existence or not of a multiverse or parallel universes opens up the possibility that human beings will survive the end of our Universe by heading to other parallel universes [20][ 23]. All this requires great scientific and technological advances to make them viable. 1. The telescope The telescope that Galileo Galilei, the father of modern science, invented was modeled on the spyglass created in 1608 by Hans Lippershey from the lenses of the first eyeglasses
  • 2. 2 that were considered common household items [1]. Galileo knew the details of Lippershey's creation and, with similar tools (tubes and lenses), built a model three times more powerful than the Dutchman's. This first model was being perfected by Galileo between the years 1609 and 1610. Galileo built his first telescope, which he called perspicillum, with a magnification of 3 times compared to the telescope of the Dutchman Hans Lippershey. Galileo quickly improved it to a 20 times magnification, far more powerful and sharper than anything else in existence at the time. With this instrument he began the meticulous observations that marked the beginning of modern astronomy. The most powerful telescopes built by Galileo reached a magnification of 30 times. With the telescope, Galileo made the first observations on the relief of the Moon, the stars of the Milky Way and the satellites of Jupiter [1]. By pointing his telescope at the Moon in November 1609, Galileo showed that the surface of the Moon was not "polished, regular, and of perfect sphericity", but "rough and irregular, full of vast prominences and deep cavities", to the like the surface of the Earth itself. Galileo was then finishing his observations of the Moon and turned his attention to Jupiter. By the end of 1609 Jupiter was at opposition and the brightest object in the night sky after the Moon On the 7th and 8th January 1610, noticed near Jupiter three small bright points, which changed position from one night to another. On the night of the thirteenth of the same month, he observed that there were four bright points moving around Jupiter. Weeks of observations, he concluded that the bodies that described smaller circles around Jupiter moved faster than those that made larger circles like Mercury and Venus around the Sun. Jupiter's satellites proved the existence of celestial bodies revolving around a planet other than Earth, in contradiction with the geocentric system. Galileo was the first to observe diffuse celestial bodies and then grouped under the common name of nebulae [1]. He was astonished by the immense number of stars that appeared to his telescope that could not be seen with the naked eye. He discovered that the Milky Way, perceived until then as a “whitish nebulosity", was made up of an infinity of stars. Galileo noticed that even through the telescope the stars continued to appear as points of light, suggesting that they were at enormous distances from Earth. The first results of Galileo's research using the telescope were published as early as 1610 under the title "Sidereus Nuncius" ("The Message from the Stars"). In it, he reports in detail the observations made between late 1609 and early 1610, which resulted in his discoveries about the Moon's relief, the stellar composition of the Milky Way and Jupiter's satellites. In the book, he refers to Jupiter's satellites as "four hitherto unseen planets". In 1613, Galileo published the “Letter on sunspots”, when he made explicit the first considerations in favor of Copernicus' heliocentric theory. An important point to be noted is that, with the use of the telescope by Galileo, science also began to exist closely connected with “technology”, that is, with the human being's ability to expand his senses through inventions, instruments and, with them, to know and describe the Universe. Many models of telescopes were developed from Galileo's telescope so that we have a model of observation of long ranges like the one offered to us by the Hubble telescope and the James Webb telescope. Since then, a veritable scientific and cosmological “revolution” has begun to develop. The Hubble telescope, launched in April 1990, was responsible for capturing extremely important images for studies related to the Universe [2]. Designed in the 1970s and 1980s, the Hubble Space Telescope was launched in 1990 and provided a revolution in astronomy. The images captured through the lens of this telescope revealed a Universe much bigger and more beautiful than the human being had imagined. The Hubble telescope obtained detailed images of nebulae, which made it possible to understand the formation and death of stars, generated images of more than
  • 3. 3 1500 galaxies, showing an immense Universe, never seen before, presented a real-time view of the collision of a comet with the planet Jupiter, located carbon dioxide (CO2) on the surface of a planet, identified planets outside the Solar System, showed images of the collision between galaxies and detected black holes. The images from the James Webb Telescope are even more revolutionary [3]. The James Webb Telescope is not a replacement for the Hubble Telescope. In fact, it is complementary in that it has eyes that Hubble does not. Therefore, he will see things that today are "invisible" with the use of the Hubble telescope. The first image revealed by the James Webb Telescope shows the distant Universe. The primary mission of the James Webb Telescope is to examine the infrared radiation resulting from the Big Bang and to make observations about the infancy of the Universe [4]. Observations of very distant objects are the telescope's main objectives, its most challenging purpose. This is what Hubble cannot do due to size limitations and lack of infrared equipment unlike the James Webb Telescope. As the Universe is expanding, it is only possible to observe the first 100 million years after the Big Bang in the infrared, because the light undergoes a shift towards the red side of energy. The light from the most distant galaxy in that image came out when the Universe was just 600 million years old. With the James Webb Telescope, we even see its chemical composition. Then we found that, chemically, it is similar to the nearest galaxies that we know. We will learn how our own galaxy formed and how the chemical enrichment of the Universe happened to generate our Solar System and life. It was also impressive to learn that the James Webb Telescope can easily detect water on planets around other stars and starlight passing through a planet's atmosphere [5]. 2. The space rocket A space rocket is a machine that moves by expelling a stream of gas at high speed behind it. Its purpose is to send objects (especially artificial satellites, space stations, space probes and rovers) and/or spacecraft and men into outer space using space capsules with a speed greater than 40,320 km/h to overcome the gravitational attraction force from the Earth and reach an altitude greater than 100 km above sea level [7]. A rocket consists of a structure, a jet propulsion engine and a payload. The structure serves to house the fuel and oxidizer (oxidizing) tanks and the payload. These rockets also need to carry an oxidizer to react with the fuel. This mixture of superheated gases is then expanded into a diverging tube, the Laval Tube, also known as the Bell Tube, to direct the expanding gas backwards and thus propel the rocket forward [7]. The first news that we have of the use of the rocket is from the year 1232 in China, where gunpowder was invented, used at first in fireworks as entertainment and, later, used for war purposes. Rockets were introduced to Europe by the Arabs, returning to use in European conflicts shortly after the Hundred Years' War (1337-1453). During the 15th and 16th centuries, it was used as an incendiary weapon. Later, with the improvement of artillery, the war rocket disappeared until the 19th century, being used again during the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815). At the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century, the first scientists appeared who saw the rocket as a system to propel manned aerospace vehicles. Among them stood out the Russian Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, the German Hermann Oberth, the North American Robert Goddard and, later, the Russians Sergei Karolev and Valentim Glushko and the German Wernher von Braun [6]. Goddard built the first rocket powered by liquid fuel in 1925. The rockets built by Goddard, although small, already had all the principles of modern rockets, such as guidance by gyroscopes, for example. The Germans, led by Wernher von Braun,
  • 4. 4 developed, during World War II, the V-1 and V-2 rockets that served as the basis for research on rockets by the United States and the Soviet Union in the post-war period. Both of the Nazi rockets used to bomb London at the end of the war can best be defined as missiles because the V-1 and V-2 fly with jet aircraft propulsion. The space programs that the North Americans and the Russians set in motion were based on rockets designed with their own purposes for astronautics derived from rockets for military use [6]. The rockets used in the Soviet space program were derivatives of the R.7 ballistic missile, which, in October 1957, the Soviet Union used to launch the first spacecraft, the Sputnik satellite. Adoption of reusable space vehicles, such as NASA's Space Shuttle, is set to increase. The Space Shuttles take off like a conventional rocket, but land like airplanes. The Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) is a spacecraft equipped with rockets that would take off and land like airplanes, on long landing strips, which would be equipped with reusable rockets to reach space and orbit the Earth. These aircraft do not yet exist. However, it is thought that, in the future, RLVs will be aircraft that can be used for low-cost and high- security space travel. A revolutionary engine that could advance astronautical technology is the Scramjet engine that is capable of hypersonic speeds of up to 15 times the speed of sound. NASA successfully tested such an engine in 2004. Another possibility of advancement in rocket engine technology is the use of nuclear propulsion, in which a nuclear reactor heats a gas, producing a jet that is used to produce thrust [8]. 3. The artificial satellite An artificial satellite is a device, composed essentially of electronic and mechanical systems, that orbits around a planet [9]. Artificial Satellites are equipment created by man launched into space by means of rockets without a crew that orbit the planets, other satellites or the Sun, being used for the deepening of studies about the solar system. The artificial satellite is divided into two main parts: the service module and the payload module. In the service module are the subsystems responsible for the operation of the satellite: battery, on-board computers, among others. The subsystems related to the satellite mission (cameras, experiments, among others) are attached to the payload module. The first artificial Earth satellite, Sputnik I, was launched by the Soviet Union on October 4, 1957, and on November 3, 1957, Sputnik II was launched. Since that date, many other satellites have been launched with the most diverse purposes: communications, meteorology, television, scientific research, military applications, navigation, exploration of the Universe and Earth observation [10]. 4. The space capsule A space capsule, launched into space by means of rockets, is normally the main section of a manned spacecraft that has a simple shape, without "wings" or other appendages to create lift during re-entry into the atmosphere [21]. Space capsules have been used in all manned space programs from the first manned missions to the present day, including several "generations" of them that have evolved over the years [22]. The Chinese Corporation for Aerospace Science and Technology is showing the public for the first time its new space capsule, which will be used in future manned missions from the country [23]. Reusable, and as yet unnamed, the vehicle can carry up to seven astronauts to the Tiangong Space Station. The Shenzhou capsules, used in all Chinese manned missions to date and derived from the Russian Soyuz, carry just three astronauts. On May 5, 2020, the new capsule was launched into space, without a crew, aboard a Long March 5B rocket. The experimental spacecraft was in orbit for two days and 19 hours, during
  • 5. 5 which it carried out a series of scientific and technological experiments, according to the Chinese Space Agency for Manned Missions (CMSA, China Manned Space Agency). Significant advances have been made in thermal protection and precision control for return and re-entry, as well as in engine design and damage-free landing. 5. The International Space Station The International Space Station (ISS), launched into space by means of rockets, is a completely completed space laboratory, whose in-orbit assembly began in 1998 and officially ended on July 8, 2011. The space station is in Earth orbit at an altitude of approximately 400 kilometers, an orbit typically referred to as low Earth orbit. Due to the low altitude, the station needs to be constantly repositioned in orbit due to aerodynamic drag. The space station travels at an average speed of 27,700 km/h, completing 15.70 orbits per day. In continuity with the operations of the Russian Mir and the US Skylab, the International Space Station represents the current human stay in space and has been maintained with crews of no less than three astronauts since November 2, 2000. The ISS becomes involved in several space programs, being a joint project of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA/ASC), European Space Agency (ESA), Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (宇宙航空研究 or JAXA), Russian Federal Space Agency (ROSKOSMOS) and National Space Administration Aeronautics and Space (NASA) of the United States. On June 27, 2008, it completed 55,000 orbits since the launch of the Zarya module, the first to be launched into space. The ISS has a platform to carry out scientific research. The wide variety of research fields include astrobiology, astronomy, human research including space medicine and life sciences, physical sciences, materials science, space weather and Earth weather (meteorology). Space stations offer an environment where studies can potentially be carried out for decades, combined with easy access by human researchers for periods that exceed the capabilities of manned spacecraft. The ISS simplifies individual experiments, eliminating the need for separate rocket launches and research teams. To detect dark matter and answer other fundamental questions about our Universe, engineers and scientists around the world created the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), which NASA compares to the Hubble Space Telescope and says could not be accommodated on a satellite free flying in part because of its power requirements and data bandwidth needs. On April 3, 2013, NASA scientists reported that evidence of dark matter may have been detected by the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer. Medical research improves knowledge about the effects of long-term space exposure on the human body, such as muscle atrophy, bone loss and fluid shift. These data will be used to determine whether human spaceflight and space colonization are viable processes. In 2006, data on bone loss and muscle atrophy suggested that there would be a significant risk of fractures and movement problems if astronauts landed on a planet after a long interplanetary cruise, such as the six-month gap needed to travel to Mars. The ISS's source of electrical energy is the Sun through solar panels. The ISS's Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) provides or controls elements such as atmospheric pressure, oxygen level, water, fire extinguishing, and more. The Elektron system generates the oxygen that circulates on board the station. The highest priority for the life support system is maintaining a stable atmosphere within the Station, but the system also collects, processes and stores waste and water produced and used by the crew. For example, the system recycles toilet, shower, urine and condensation fluids. Activated carbon filters are the first methods for removing products of human metabolism in the air. Station orientation control is maintained through two mechanisms. Typically,
  • 6. 6 a system using control moment gyroscopes (CMGs) keeps the Station oriented. When the gyroscope system becomes saturated, it can lose the ability to control the station's orientation. In this case, the orientation control system is prepared to take over automatically, using retrorockets to maintain the Station's orientation and thus allowing the desaturation of the gyroscope system. The altitude control of the International Space Station is carried out with its maintenance in orbit at a minimum and maximum altitude limit of 278 to 460 km. Radio communication is essential to the operation of the ISS, providing telemetry and scientific data between the space station and Mission Control Centers around the world. Radio links are also used during spacecraft approach and docking procedures and for communication between station crew, and between them and flight controllers and family members on the ground. As a result, the ISS is equipped with a diverse range of internal and external communication systems, used for different purposes. 6. The space probe A space probe, launched into space by means of rockets, is an unmanned craft that is sent into space to collect information about planets, moons, asteroids, comets and other objects in the Solar System and beyond [11] [12] . Some probes orbit planets and moons, others even land on them, but there are also those that just pass close to these celestial bodies to study them. Space probes usually have telemetry resources, which allow studying the celestial body's distance, its physical and chemical characteristics, taking photographs and sometimes also characterizing its environment. Some probes, such as Landers or Rovers, land on the surface of celestial bodies to study their geology and climate. The first space probes to study other celestial bodies were launched at the end of the 1950s by the extinct Soviet Union and the United States, right at the beginning of space exploration, and they helped a lot to unravel the mysteries of the Universe. Recently, the European Space Agency, Japan, People's Republic of China and India have also launched their probes. The probe types are flyby, orbiter, impact, lander and vehicular (using the rover with locomotion capability to analyze a larger area of a celestial body). To date, 9 space probes have been sent to the Sun, 2 to Mercury, 34 to Venus, 35 to Earth, 83 to the Moon, 40 to Mars, 8 to Jupiter, 3 to Saturn, 1 to Uranus, 1 to Neptune, 1 for Pluto and the Kuiper Belt, 12 for comets and asteroids, and 4 for outside the Solar System [11]. Among the main fuels used in a space probe are liquid hydrogen, liquid oxygen, hydrazine and others. Hydrazine, like other substances, is highly toxic and its handling requires the use of protective clothing and oxygen tanks, which makes the supply process time-consuming and dangerous. The space probes are capable of communicating with Earth through the Deep Space Network (DSN), a global NASA communications system that covers the entire circumference of the Earth, divided into three stations, one in California, another in Madrid and one in third in Canberra, Australia. 7. The rover Rover designates a space exploration vehicle designed to move on the surface of a planet or other celestial body [13]. Some of them were designed to transport crew members of a manned space mission and others are partially or completely built as autonomous robots. The vehicles are designed with all-terrain vehicle characteristics, and are driven to their destination via lander-type spacecraft. They are used in conditions very different from those found on Earth, which implies some special design features, such as wheels with independent movement and traction, as well as robotic arms and instruments. The following requirements are a fundamental part of vehicle design: readiness, compactness
  • 7. 7 and autonomy. 5 rovers were used on the Moon and 7 on Mars with 3 failures, 1 on the Moon and 2 on Mars. Among the rovers, it is important to highlight three of them, Spirit, Opportunity and Perseverance used in research on the planet Mars, which has already been explored for 60 years and is of great scientific interest because it is believed that the Red Planet may have signs of life, even if already extinct [16]. Although we have seen these three rovers arrive at Mars, there are many other scientific instruments besides these on the Red Planet, either in orbit or on the surface. The Spirit and Opportunity rovers are part of a space mission to explore the surface and geology of the planet Mars, which is still ongoing [14]. Equipped with an engine and wheels, the rovers were designed to roam the surface of Mars and search and classify the greatest possible number of rocks and soils that could give any clue about the possible existence of water on the planet. Opportunity "landed" in the Martian crater after Spirit, which landed on the far side of the planet. The rovers did not actually "land", but fell out of space, the impact being absorbed by large pockets of gas. In all, the rovers covered more than 21 kilometers and collected more than 250,000 images and 36,000 gigabytes of data. On Martian soil, they climbed hills and descended into craters, struggled to free themselves from sand, and faced problems caused by the wear and tear of the materials they are made of. The rovers were equipped with extremely sensitive equipment, which allows the recording of small earthquakes. Its technology makes it possible to obtain information about the core of the planet, whether it is active or whether it has already been transformed into a large frozen stone ball, as in the case of the Moon. Its mechanical arms even have a rock polisher, and are designed to analyze the chemical elements in the soil. In addition to all this, Spirit and Opportunity have optical instruments, which make it possible to analyze the composition of the atmosphere. Thus, it is possible to understand, for example, why the temperature of Mars is so unstable, because, on a common day, thermometers vary up to 90 degrees. On May 1, 2009, Spirit became stuck on a plateau, with two of its six wheels destroyed. NASA operators tried for nine months to send commands that would make it get rid of the obstacle, but they gave up, and started using it as a stationary platform. There, Spirit ended up finding silica, a chemical compound that preserves energy-rich bacterial communities. Its final transmission took place on March 22, 2010. Opportunity continues its walk around the other end of Mars to this day. In almost eight years of exploration, the robots have found evidence that the regions where they walked were once habitable, at least by microorganisms. The Perseverance rover successfully landed on Mars in February 2021 with the main objective of determining the potential for ancient life on Mars. To do this, the rover will look for signs of habitable conditions on the ancient Red Planet, in addition to looking for biosignatures of microbial life that may have existed when there was water there. The rover landed in a large crater formation called Jezero, which features typical features of a lake and river delta that existed on Mars billions of years ago. Scientists have reason to think that if there was ever life on the planet, this is one of the places where it could have been abundant. To look for these signs, Perseverance will use a drill capable of sampling the most promising rocks and soils. In addition to the rover, Mars 2020 took the Ingenuity helicopter to Mars, as an unprecedented demonstration of autonomous flight technology on another planet [15]. 8. Conclusions
  • 8. 8 The first major revolution in the history of Science occurred with the breaking of the geocentric paradigm whose theory elaborated by the Greek astronomer Claudio Ptolemy at the beginning of the Christian Era defended the thesis that the Earth is in the center of the Solar System, and the other stars orbit around it , including the Sun [19]. After 14 centuries, the geocentric theory was contested by the Polish astronomer and mathematician Nicolaus Copernicus, who elaborated another structure of the Solar System, the heliocentrism. According to Copernicus, the Earth and the other planets move around a point close to the Sun, which is the true center of the Solar System. The heliocentric theory was improved and proven by Galileo Galilei with the invention of the telescope [17]. From the studies of Copernicus and Galileo Galilei, the Universe has become increasingly known thanks to the use of increasingly powerful telescopes such as Hubble and James Webb, space rockets, artificial satellites, space capsules, space stations, space probes and rovers. All of this has contributed to Astronomy, which is the science that studies the Universe, the bodies that constitute it, the relative positions they occupy, the laws that govern their movements and the evolution they experience over time, to promote the advancement of knowledge about the Universe [18]. The construction of large telescopes such as Hubble and James Webb have provided incredible advances and discoveries about the Universe. The replacement of the human eye by photographs and the objectives of systematization and classification made Astronomy evolve even more in these last fifty years than in the five millennia of its entire history. As a result of technological development since the second half of the 20th century, Astronomy has undergone such a great change in its methods that it leaves its aspect of observation science to also become a new experimental science with the use of the telescope, space rockets, artificial satellites, space capsules, space station, space probes and rovers. The advancement of knowledge in Astronomy made it possible to establish conjectures about the origin of the Universe that would have emerged through the Big Bang, to identify the existence of a huge black hole in the center of the Milky Way, the discovery of water on Mars, the downgrading of Pluto to a dwarf planet , the existence of Earth-like exoplanets outside the solar system, as well as the discovery of dark matter and dark energy in the Universe. For humans to carry out long-distance space missions, it is necessary to find more advanced forms of rocket propulsion to reach distances of hundreds or thousands of light- years, given that, according to scientists, current chemical rockets are limited by the maximum speed exhaust gases [20][23]. Other alternatives proposed by scientists would consist of the use of a solar/ionic engine as a new form of rocket propulsion, as well as the creation of a fusion reactor in which a rocket extracts hydrogen from interstellar space and liquefies it, releasing unlimited amounts of energy [20][23]. It is also necessary to develop space capsules capable of protecting human beings in space travel and to design space probes to carry out research in possible habitable places in the solar system such as Mars, Titan (Saturn's moon) and Callisto (Jupiter's moon) or on the exoplanet Proxima b located in the Alpha Centauri system and a planet in a closer galaxy such as the Canis Major Dwarf Galaxy located 25,000 light years from Earth [20][23], as well to develop space colonies for use by humans outside Earth. All this could help human beings to colonize celestial bodies located in the solar system and beyond. Additionally, it is necessary that space probes be sent to know the “Oort Cloud” located at the limits of the solar system where comets are located and to know the “Kuiper Belt” where asteroids are located [20][23]. From the above, it is demonstrated that the great inventions that occurred throughout history in the field of astronomy contributed to the advancement of knowledge about the
  • 9. 9 Universe and that future inventions need to be developed to provide the conditions for humanity to colonize celestial bodies in the solar system and outside of it, as well as making it possible to increase knowledge about the Universe to contribute towards humanity being able to overcome the threats to its existence. REFERENCES 1. FERNANDES, Cláudio. A invenção do telescópio por Galileu Galilei. Available on the website <https://brasilescola.uol.com.br/historiag/a-invencao-telescopio-por- galileu-galilei.htm>. 2. MUNDO EDUCAÇÃO. Telescópio Hubble. Available on the website <https://mundoeducacao.uol.com.br/fisica/telescopio-hubble.htm>. 3. POSSES, Ana, MELLO, Duília e PONTE, Geisa. Astrônomas explicam por que as imagens do James Webb são revolucionárias. Available on the website <https://revistagalileu.globo.com/Ciencia/Espaco/noticia/2022/07/astronomas- explicam-por-que-imagens-do-james-webb-sao-revolucionarias.html>. 4. WIKIPEDIA. Telescópio Espacial James Webb. Available on the website <https://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telesc%C3%B3pio_Espacial_James_Webb>. 5. FREITAS, Felipe. Telescópio James Webb é capaz de detectar água em outro planeta. Available on the website <https://mundoconectado.com.br/noticias/v/26842/telescopio-james-webb-e-capaz- de-detectar-agua-em-outro-planeta>. 6. WIKIPEDIA. Foguete espacial. Available on the website <https://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foguete_espacial>. 7. HELERBROCK, Rafael. Como funciona o lançamento de um foguete. Available on the website <https://brasilescola.uol.com.br/fisica/como-funciona-o-lancamento-de- um-foguete.htm>. 10 de novembro de 2021. 8. ALENCAR, Lucas. Agência espacial russa está desenvolvendo motor nuclear. Available on the website <https://revistagalileu.globo.com/Ciencia/noticia/2016/03/agencia-espacial-russa- esta-desenvolvendo-motor-nuclear.html>. 9. INFOPEDIA. Satélite artificial. Available on the website <https://www.infopedia.pt/apoio/artigos/$satelite-artificial>. 10. TODA MATÉRIA. Satélites Artificiais. Available on the website <https://www.todamateria.com.br/satelites-artificiais/>. 11. WIKIPEDIA. Sonda espacial. Available on the website <https://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonda_espacial>. 12. ESG, O que é uma sonda espacial e para que serve? Available on the website <https://planetariodevitoria.org/espaco/o-que-e-uma-sonda-espacial.html>. 13. WIKIPEDIA. Astromóvel. Available on the website <https://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astrom%C3%B3vel>. 14. SANTIAGO, Emerson. Robôs Spirit e Opportunity. Available on the website <https://www.infoescola.com/exploracao-espacial/robos-spirit-e-opportunity/>. 15. EXAME. Perseverance completa um ano de busca por sinais de vida em Marte. Available on the website <https://exame.com/ciencia/perseverance-completa-um- ano-de-busca-por-sinais-de-vida-em-marte/>. 16. CAVALCANTE, Daniele. Exploração de Marte: que sondas, rovers e landers já foram enviados para lá? Available on the website
  • 10. 10 <https://canaltech.com.br/espaco/exploracao-de-marte-que-sondas-rovers-e-landers- ja-foram-enviados-para-la-180134/>. 17. CROWE, Michael J. Theories of the World from Antiquity to the Copernican Revolution. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, Inc, 1990. 18. AGUIAR, Marcus. Tópicos de Mecânica Clássica. Campinas: UNICAMP, 2010. Available on the website <http://sites.ifi.unicamp.br/aguiar/files/2014/10/top-mec- clas.pdf>. 19. ALCOFORADO, Fernando. A ciência e os avanços no conhecimento sobre o Universo. Available on the website <https://www.slideshare.net/falcoforado/a-cincia- e-os-avanos-no-conhecimento-sobre-o-universo>. 20. ALCOFORADO, Fernando. A escalada da ciência e da tecnologia ao longo da história e sua contribuição ao progresso e à sobrevivência da humanidade. Curitiba: Editora CRV, 2022. 21. WIKIPEDIA. Cápsula espacial. Available on the website <https://pt.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/C%C3%A1psula_espacial>. 22. RIGUES, Rafael. China expõe sua nova cápsula espacial. Available on the website <https://olhardigital.com.br/2021/10/14/ciencia-e-espaco/china-expoe-sua-nova- capsula-espacial/>. 23. ALCOFORADO, Fernando. How to protect human beings from threats to their existence and avoid the extinction of humanity. Europe, Republic of Moldova, Chișinău: Generis Publishing, 2023. * Fernando Alcoforado, awarded the medal of Engineering Merit of the CONFEA / CREA System, member of the Bahia Academy of Education, of the SBPC- Brazilian Society for the Progress of Science and of IPB- Polytechnic Institute of Bahia, engineer and doctor in Territorial Planning and Regional Development from the University of Barcelona, college professor (Engineering, Economy and Administration) and consultant in the areas of strategic planning, business planning, regional planning, urban planning and energy systems, was Advisor to the Vice President of Engineering and Technology at LIGHT S.A. Electric power distribution company from Rio de Janeiro, Strategic Planning Coordinator of CEPED- Bahia Research and Development Center, Undersecretary of Energy of the State of Bahia, Secretary of Planning of Salvador, is the author of the books Globalização (Editora Nobel, São Paulo, 1997), De Collor a FHC- O Brasil e a Nova (Des)ordem Mundial (Editora Nobel, São Paulo, 1998), Um Projeto para o Brasil (Editora Nobel, São Paulo, 2000), Os condicionantes do desenvolvimento do Estado da Bahia (Tese de doutorado. Universidade de Barcelona,http://www.tesisenred.net/handle/10803/1944, 2003), Globalização e Desenvolvimento (Editora Nobel, São Paulo, 2006), Bahia- Desenvolvimento do Século XVI ao Século XX e Objetivos Estratégicos na Era Contemporânea (EGBA, Salvador, 2008), The Necessary Conditions of the Economic and Social Development- The Case of the State of Bahia (VDM Verlag Dr. Müller Aktiengesellschaft & Co. KG, Saarbrücken, Germany, 2010), Aquecimento Global e Catástrofe Planetária (Viena- Editora e Gráfica, Santa Cruz do Rio Pardo, São Paulo, 2010), Amazônia Sustentável- Para o progresso do Brasil e combate ao aquecimento global (Viena- Editora e Gráfica, Santa Cruz do Rio Pardo, São Paulo, 2011), Os Fatores Condicionantes do Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social (Editora CRV, Curitiba, 2012), Energia no Mundo e no Brasil- Energia e Mudança Climática Catastrófica no Século XXI (Editora CRV, Curitiba, 2015), As Grandes Revoluções Científicas, Econômicas e Sociais que Mudaram o Mundo (Editora CRV, Curitiba, 2016), A Invenção de um novo Brasil (Editora CRV, Curitiba, 2017), Esquerda x Direita e a sua convergência (Associação Baiana de Imprensa, Salvador, 2018), Como inventar o futuro para mudar o mundo (Editora CRV, Curitiba, 2019), A humanidade ameaçada e as estratégias para sua sobrevivência (Editora Dialética, São Paulo, 2021), A escalada da ciência e da tecnologia e sua contribuição ao progresso e à sobrevivência da humanidade (Editora CRV, Curitiba, 2022), a chapter in the book Flood Handbook (CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida United States, 2022) and How to protect human beings from threats to their existence and avoid the extinction of humanity (Generis Publishing, Europe, Republic of Moldova, Chișinău, 2023).